Vietnam Music Monday: “Draft Dodger Rag”

Draft Dodger Rag

“Draft Dodger Rag” was released on Phil Ochs’s 1965 album, I Ain’t Marching Anymore. (Newseum collection)

Music played an important cultural role during the Vietnam War, representing the rebellious views of a young generation and the traditional values of an older, so-called “silent majority.” The Newseum selected 40 songs released between 1963 and 1973 that typified the music of the Vietnam era. The songs captured the emotions of people for and against the war and reflected the mood of an increasingly diverse country amid dramatic social and political change.

The 40 songs, part of the Newseum’s “Reporting Vietnam” exhibit, are a fraction of the hundreds of recordings that dealt with the war and civil disobedience. Each week, one song from the playlist will be featured. We encourage you to add your favorite songs of the era to the comment section!

Draft Dodger Rag (1965)

Phil Ochs

Phil Ochs wowed the crowd with his performance of “Draft Dodger Rag” at the 1964 Newport Folk Festival and released it the following year on his album “I Ain’t Marching Anymore.” One of the first satirical tunes about the Vietnam War, the song featured a humorous list of conditions that would help a draftee gain a deferment or exemption from military service.


And I always carry a purse
I got eyes like a bat, and my feet are flat
My asthma’s getting worse
Consider my career, my sweetheart dear
My poor old invalid aunt
Besides, I ain’t no fool, and I’m goin’ to school
And I’m workin’ in a defense plant

Purchase “Draft Dodger Rag” on Amazon or iTunes.

“Reporting Vietnam,” a new exhibit that marks the 50th anniversary of the start of America’s first televised war, explores the dramatic stories of how journalists brought news about the war to a divided nation.

CBS News

Contributing support for the “Reporting Vietnam” exhibit is provided by CBS Corporation, in memory of CBS News correspondent Bob Simon.

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